Adriana Mendoza recognizes there aren’t many women in mathematics in academia. When she pursued her Ph.D., she also worked with the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics and other organizations to bring more diversity to the field. “Ever since I was a kid, I wanted to help my peers,” she says. “At OSU, I’m getting to do that.”

While a student at Central Washington University, Adriana was nominated for the Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program, which prepares undergraduates from underrepresented or unprivileged backgrounds for success in graduate school. “Receiving the McNair scholarship helped make graduate school a possibility,” she said.

The graduate program in mathematics at Oregon State recognized Adriana’s potential and nominated her for the Graduate School’s Diversity Advancement Pipeline Fellowship. The fellowship is intended to help recruit and retain students from divergent and/or nontraditional backgrounds interested in a career in university teaching and/or research. For Adriana, it allowed her to devote time and energy to research and education during her critical first year.

Adriana held graduate teaching assistantships in the mathematics department for the two academic years following her fellowship. Her experience as a first-generation college student drove her to help and mentor her students. “I know there are more students who will go through what I did, and I want to help make it easier for them than it was for me,” she explained. “I know I can make a difference in the lives of those who are going to face what I’ve overcome.”

To learn more about the Diversity Advancement Pipeline Fellowship, click here.